Summary: God has sent you a gift that you are going to love!
Jn.3:16 is not only the most familiar verse, but the verse that summarizes the entire message of the Bible. The central idea of the verse is that people do not have to perish, because of a gift given by God Himself.
A little girl in SS trying to quote Jn.3:16, called Jesus God’s Only Forgotten Son. The teacher asked her, "do you really think that God forgot about Jesus?". "Yes", she said, "God forgot about Jesus and thought about me!" The little girl’s mistake had a wealth of insight!
Ro.6:23 states quite plainly that eternal life is not to be won, and it is not to be earned or secured by any action on our part, but rather, it is a gift.
Christmas is a time of exchanging gifts
The stores have been extremely busy this year, with people buying Christmas gifts. Now, for the next couple of weeks, they will be extremely busy with people returning Christmas gifts!
Some gifts are more appreciated than others
Gifts that will make a child feel disappointed will often make an adult happy. (Clothes, etc.) I asked my little 5 year old grandson if he got a present in SS, and he said, “I didn’t get nothing but a boot to hang on the Christmas tree!” I said, “Well what did you want?” He said, “A toy!” Have you ever given somebody something, and you knew when they opened it, that they weren’t all that excited about it? Makes you feel kind of bad doesn’t it? Have you ever received something that you really put on your best act to pretend you really liked it, when it wasn’t at all something you would have chosen?
Some people have no appreciation for the gift spoken of in Jn.3:16. Some people would much rather have something else.
Some gifts convey a message of love and sacrifice
The message of a gift has a lot to do with the amount of sacrifice, and the specific choosing that goes into securing it for the person who is going to receive it. Most of us have had the experience of “just having to get something,” and we even get to the point that we think “we’ll just grab something, and if they don’t like it they can exchange it.” There is a story in the OT, where David said he wished he had a drink of water from a certain well. His valiant men went through enemy lines, and put their life at great risk, but brought him a container of water from that well. David said, “This water is too precious to drink; it came at too high a price. I will pour it out, as an offering to God.” Out of a motivation of love, God gave His Only Begotten Son. (1Jn.4:10) “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (Ro.5:8) “But God commended His love toward is, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Some Gifts Are Never Received
There is one thing for sure: No matter what gift has been provided for you, you don’t have it, until you receive it. There is a box in the foyer of our church that has some unclaimed Christmas cards. Some unclaimed, because the people haven’t been here; others, because the people have been here and have heard the weekly plea to “check the box,” but for some reason, they haven’t received the cards. They may have assumed that there wasn’t any for them, so they just didn’t look. They may have thought it was too much of an imposition to go look in the box. They wanted to get out the door, and they felt that looking in the box would somehow hinder them from something else they wanted to do. It may be that you have gone to the expense of getting the card for them, and you have gone to the trouble of putting their name on it and getting it to the right place, so they could get it, but they just haven’t been concerned enough to pick it up. You may still have some unclaimed gifts under your tree. They are for specific people, but they have not benefitted from them, as yet, because they haven’t received them.